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December 24, 2012
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Using 3D as reference

:iconcardinal4:
Cardinal4 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I thought I'd just like to see what fellow artists thought of this technique to help improve my drawings:

  1. Get a 3D character model for posing. Model must be poseable and generally anatomically correct. Bonus if the mouth and expressions are rigged too. Shadosk's character is a good example. [link]

  2. Find 3D props to set up the scene, e.g. a lawnchair, a television cabinet, trees.

  3. Start playing with 3D camera angle to find the best composition shot.

  4. Study the scene, grab a screenshot of the camera view.

  5. Use it as reference picture and start improvising.

Example screenshot: [link]

Do you think it's useful, a reasonable way to draw, or maybe ways to improve it? Thanks!
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:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
It can help, but if you don't know anatomy or lighting well enough to compensate for mistakes in the model, you are likely to get stiff, creepy-looking drawings. It's certainly not a substitute for life drawing. But it can be helpful in planning out a complex scene.
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:iconcardinal4:
Cardinal4 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My initial attempts were quite stiff looking. I got around it by making many (horrible) pencil sketches of poses until I sort of feel how the subject should posture himself, the main action lines and shot composition. So later all I do in the 3D program is to fix things like shoulder positioning, relaxing the arm.

I'm not using the lighting haha, lighting is itself a very complex field in 3D so I'm not gonna touch it. =P With my method I'm mainly trying to solve issues with drawing foreshortening and perspective.
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:iconmaybirdfan:
maybirdfan Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I've thought about trying that, but I"ve never actually managed to put it into practice due to lack of time and knowledge about 3D programs.

I'd like to know how it works out if you give it a try :)
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:iconcardinal4:
Cardinal4 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It works! It helped me overcome the limitation of only drawing normal perspective.

Before: [link]
After: [link]

About the 3D program, I used Blender (which is free and partially recognised in the professional 3D industry) but I think there's the MikuMikuDance thing too, though I'm not too sure how it works.

The time to set up the scene is quite long though. I spent half a day in total googling for props and setting up the pose. I had prior experience with Blender, but I think one should be able to learn it in 2-3 weeks, since it's just moving their joints into position. Halfway through I had my doubts, but the results were well worth the time setting it up. The reference pic is not something I can Google for. A person with decent photographic ability (and a bunch of friends) might have an easier time than messing with 3D though.
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:iconmaybirdfan:
maybirdfan Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I've looked into Blender for papercrafting purposes, but was totally overwhelmed ^^; I think I'm going to experiment with MMD for awhile before moving on to the super complicated stuff.

How long did it take to set up just the model? I don't generally draw props or backgrounds too much.
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:iconcardinal4:
Cardinal4 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
the model itself, not very long, about 30 minutes of tweaking. If you know how to navigate to the bones and Pose mode, it's just a matter of rotating the bones into position. Each bone controls a joint (e.g. eyebrow, corner of mouth, ankle, hip).

IMO the hard part is actually finding the right model you want, like how tall, how muscular, drawing style (realistic, cartoon or anime).
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